We have been seeing a lot of educators make connections with their classes around the world. Some have developed #ClassPartnerships on a global scale through the innovation project spearheaded by Koen Timmers:
— Koen Timmers (@zelfstudie) May 20, 2018
— Microsoft Vancouver (@MicrosoftVan) May 22, 2018
My response is simple: Don't Stop.
You have experienced the power of connection. You have seen the effects on your students and their learning. You have built meaningful connections that have made a difference for your students and possibly even the world around. Keep it going! In fact, I would ask that you consider other connections as you take next steps.
Now that you have made some connections around the world, are there connections that need to be made right back in your own community?
- Are there needs to be addressed in your own school?
- Are your students mentoring younger students with the learning they have gained?
- Are there ways of connecting your class with another in the school to work on something cross curricular?
- Are there needs in the neighbourhood that your class can address?
- Is there a way your class can serve the local community?
Are your students getting into things of which you are not the expert? GOOD! That is the way it is suppose to be. You are a linchpin now. How can you facilitate connections with the expertise your students need to go to the next level?
- Into what topics is your class delving that an expert could add up-to-the-minute discoveries to the learning?
- Is there a coding expert with whom you can connect your students as they develop software?
- Is there someone that can help them MAKE in response to a connection?
- Have you tapped into the expertise that is present in the parent community?
We must keep mindful that there are others that are working on the same goals as us. When I speak of organization support, I am thinking of a two way street: how are we supporting the organizations that need our help? But also, how can organizations assist us in achieving our goals?
- Are there organizations in which your students are passionate?
- As your students consider the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, are organizations that they can work along side to address needs?
- Have you seen a group offering mentorship opportunities in a certain area?
- Is there a way to partner with local service groups to have a positive impact?
Maybe you have been connecting with mentors, experts, and organizations, but you have not made a connection with other classes. A great way to open the door to empathy with your students is to connect them with other students. As I mention in the CBL book, the more we connect with those who are different from us, the more we develop who we are.
- Is there a way your students can collaborate with another class as they pursue a certain learning outcome?
- Are there connections your class already has through apps like Belouga that you have not pressed into?
- Is there a way that your class can work with another on a common topic, interest, or goal?
So what are you afraid of?
This is not a rhetorical question. In fact, that is the question for this weeks #CBLchat Voxer community. We have been meandering through the Connections-based Learning book, looking at the Vision Checkup questions, and we are in chapter 6 entitled #CollaborationLens. The question asks:
Do you have a fear of sharing? (and might I add, do you have fears or concerns about connecting in any of these ways?) What are the roots of this fear? How do they need to be addressed?